By far, so far, Fantasia is my favorite Disney movie. Yes, I know, there is not any acting. But, if you think make to when this was made, the technology that was available at the time and to think that each drawing had to be timed perfectly in sync with the music, it is truly a masterpiece. Animation is not as easy as lights, camera, action. The music was already written, so it still was not as easy as creating music for a soundtrack. Fantasia is probably one of the hardest movies to review, it is worth it based on the technically aspect and if that is not a reason to see it... well, go it high and watch it. I hear that was the rage in the 60's and 70's.
UPDATE FOR BLU-RAY
As much as I have read the reviews, both good and bad, I can see both sides of the coin over the censorship debate. I am a die hard Fantasia fan and was little disheartened to find out that they are not taking this unique opportunity to have Leonard Maltin come in and give us the a history lesson in why they added the censored scenes back in. The movie, in it's entirety has not been seen since the first year of release, but obviously is available somewhere for it to even have a bad copy on YouTube. This would have been the perfect time to step aside and show possibly both versions for those film lovers, who are not easily offended by what was common in the 40s.
As for those people who have commented about the narration track being different, you must not have read anything on this movie as you would know that it is impossible due to the audio track being unusable. Achieving and preserving was something that was not as important as it is now. There was too much lost quality on the actual tracks to be able to use and/or recreate. Yes, purists may say it ruins the integrity to add a different voice, but truly it is something that must be understood in order for us to have a movie to enjoy on technology was never even thought about in the 40s.
But when the press release came out that Fantasia was getting Blu-Ray status, I was thrilled and am looking forward to seeing how they enhanced it, the extras, and just to own this piece of art. No matter how they change it, Fantasia was and still is the stepping stone for movies today, both animation and film. Remember, this is the movie that CREATED surround sound.
As for the transfer of this movie over to Blu-Ray, after watching it last night... I was very impressed with the audio and visuals here. The seemed to keep the water colored backgrounds while cleaning the foreground and enhancing the characters and designs (that became characters on their own). I was impressed with the details of little things like snowflakes and flames that turned into demons, which did not seem to stand out in DVD, laserdiscs and VHS releases. In this version, you WILL see things you never did before, not because they were not there before but because they were not as pronounced and vivid before. Just for the merits of the movie alone, it was worth the price for the blu-ray edition.
For this being one of my favorite all time movies, I have to give it about a 7 just because if someone is renting it on DVD, chances are they have never seen it live and are going to be disappointed by the movie itself based on the hype over the years of the movie.
The story is weak and it looks like a low budget 70's film, throw in rock music, a little goth and you have Rocky Horror. If you take away the midnight shows and the cult following of 30-50 year olds who like to reenact the film on a stage, you got a campy sci-fi musical that would fade away into the darkness. It truly is because of it's following that Rocky Horror has survived. I first watched this movie when I was in 4 or 5 grade and remember wanted to be in the school talent show using the music to "Toucha Toucha Touch Me". Yes, I a little young for the song but I was just so in awe over the West Hollywood Rocky Horror experience when I was like 10, it became a part of me that I won't go away. I love Rocky Horror and it must be watched at midnight with a cast.
This weekend our Blu-Ray copy of Rocky Horror and we had to watch it and check out the quality of the transfer, which I was thoroughly impressed with. First the audio was incredible. I was able to hear layers of different sounds like horns and the chorus coming from my rear speakers, while the vocal tracks came from the center, just where it should be. The video for the most part was a good clean transfer, though there were some scenes that were grainy but were not that many. On this watch, I decided on the UK version with the alternate B&W intro. The movie was in B&W all the way up to the Time Warp where they open the door to main room and introduce the Transylvanians. Watching in black and white gave the movie a classic appeal and not the tired 70s look. It was definitely worth the blu-ray purchase.